A Tribute to the Tall Girls

For those of you who know me only through that little bitty profile photo, I am in fact not lilliputian.   Quite the contrary, I consider myself a tall girl.  Technically, I measure in at 5'11 and 1/2 inches.  I embrace that last half inch away from six feet, as I have since I was about age thirteen which I reached that height. 

So, what's the big deal?  I am not WNBA tall or circus tall or Guinness Book of World Records tall.  I am just a bit above average.  But, for my entire adolescent and adult life, on an almost daily basis, someone feels compelled to remark about my verticality.  That tends to seep into a girl's psyche after a while.

When I became fully absorbed in my study of ballet as a young girl, I was heartbroken to learn that I was too tall to audition for the local production of The Nutcracker.  Perhaps, if I would have thought to ask, they would have allowed me to audition for the role of Mother Ginger: the giant who keeps clowns hidden beneath her parachute-size petticoat.

During high school, when I would walk into the gymnasium for sporting events, the opposing teams assumed I played center on the basketball team.  Little did they realized, I in fact had the less-esteemed honor of taking the statistics and filling up water bottles and moping the sweat off the hardwood. After all, I was NOT an athlete, I was an art nerd.

As a teenager, my mom and I searched through stacks and stacks of denim, trying to find jeans that were long enough, and never succeeding.  At one point, she joked about sewing a band of lace along the bottom hem to make them touch my ankles.  "Where's the flood?," my brother would sometimes quip when he saw my "average" length jeans which looked like capris on me.

In EVERY school class photo, I was in the back row.  All boys and me. A line of late 90's boring button-down shirts and then sweater-set wearing, pink-clad moi.  I developed signature "head-tilt" in practically every photo since then to make me look a bit less physically distant from others in the picture.

Onto dating, and wow did that present some issues.  As fate would have it, the only gents that took a fancy in nearly six-foot me, were the little Napoleonic types.  While some tall girls have no issue dating a man who is smaller than they, I was not one of them.  Thank goodness my big, strong, handsome hubby came along in college to make my height seem just right.  

When tall hubby and I have hypothetical children (years from now, mom!), they are bound to be equally tall.  So, I better start to embrace this now before they come along (yep, still years, mom) so that I may instill them with pride about their height. 

In time, I have grown to love being tall.  I wear heels.  I look eye to eye toward my hubby. I stand up straight. I own it.

But...I still wish strangers would think before pointing out my height:

"Wow, you're tall," people often say.

Can you ever imagine saying, "wow, you're short," or "wow, you're overweight," or "wow, you're bald?"

Here's a bit of friendly advice from one tall girl: when encountering someone who is physically different than you, offer only compliments that will put that person at ease.  Do not make observations out-loud that may make that individual feel even more awkward than they already do.

Also, asking a tall person if they play basketball is no less ludicrous than asking a short person if they're a jockey or a large person if they're a sumo wrestler.   

So, whether you're tall or petite or somewhere in between, embrace your height.  Chances are, looking the way you do has contributed to who you've become. And, as Martha says, that's a good thing.

Are you tall too?  Check out The Tall Book: A Celebration of Life from on High by Arianne Cohen.

1 comment:

  1. I am not AT ALL tall, but I married a very tall man (6'8"). Like you, he tires of the "wow, you're tall!" comments, as well as being asked if he played basketball. Not all of these comments seem to indicate you might belong in the sideshow tent at the circus, but most of them do! I think these comments tap into those feelings of insecurity and awkwardness everyone had growing up. Of course, when the comment comes from an elderly person or a child (think of the scene from Old Yeller!), it has an innocence that doesn't bother him. As you said, striving to make people comfortable around you is a wonderful rule of thumb.


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